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inside their country to a conflict with turkey. jon: bashar al-assad's forces have enough of a problem just containing, just battling their own population, the rebel fighters within syria. if they have to take on a force from outside, namely turkey, are they going to be able to handle that? >> no, they could not. quite frankly, i don't think they can handle the rebels if we gave them the weapons that they desire and some of the information that they desperately need, not even to speak of a no-fly zone, if we just armed them properly i think the syrian military would have significant problems with the rebels as we've already seen. jon: but then you wind up with the question of who fills the vacuum. if bashar al-assad were to fall who fills the vacuum, and can we be certain that the rebels are going to wind up being our friends? >> well, we cannot. i don't think anybody would be able to predict that, and certainly what we've seen in egypt and also in libya tells you just how challenging this is. we do know what we have there now. we have a brutal dictatorship where people are socially, p
where more than 30,000 men, women and children have been massacred by assad regime over the past 20 months. violent extremists are flowing into the fight. our ally turkey has been attacked and the conflict threatens stability in the region. america can take pride in the blows that our military and intelligence professionals have inflicted on al qaeda in pakistan and afghanistan including the kill of usama bin laden. these are real achievements won at a high cost. al qaeda remains a strong force however in yemen and somalia, in libya, and other parts of north africa, in iraq and now in syria and other extremists have gained ground across the region. drones and modern instruments of war are important tools in our fight but they are no substitute for a national security strategy for the middle east. the president is fond of saying that the tide of war is receding and i want to believe him as much as anyone else but when we look at the middle east today, with iran closer than ever to nuclear weapons capability, with the conflict in syria threatening to destablize the region and with vio
to be syrian army officers and assad regime security forces. leland vittert is live in our middle east bureau with the latest. leland? >> reporter: gregg, this really shows how sophisticated these attacks are becoming. these bombings were sophisticated on number of levels, happening within minutes of each other, well-coordinated. not only that, the bombers were able to get in a very secure part of aleppo near the syrian headquarters. lastly the bombs themselves were well-made and clearly devastating in their effect. images coming from syrian state tv shows the same kind of damage to full blocks of aleppo in the government controlled areas. same kind of damage we're seeing in the rebel controlled areas coming from those deadly attacks with certainian -- syrian artillery. this points much more to jihadist movements rather than homegrown rebel fighters, fighters coming out of places like libya and iraq with expertise and also al qaeda linkage what we're seeing here in syria. this fits much more with the syrian government narrative going forward which complicates, things, gregg. you know it used
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